The Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2014

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

47 years ago, the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival was initiated in Washington, D.C.  Today, the Festival has become a national and international living cultural heritage expedition, home to over 250 artists and over 1 million visitors from all around the world.  I am so ready for this year’s lineup, kicking off June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6 on the National Mall.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The theme of the program this year will be China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa!  The China program emphasizes the themes of BALANCE and REUNION, processes of more profound importance than ever in China.  The program will also feature seasonal festival traditions, emphasize the exuberance of public life, share the meaning and preparation of Chinese foodways, engage visitors in craft and performance workshops, and highlight the country’s cultural diversity.

The Kenya: Mambo Poa program will present the ways in which the people of Kenya are balancing protection of their valued cultural and natural heritage with the challenges and opportunities for change in the twenty-first century.  Festival visitors will be able to interact with exemplary craftspeople who work with everything from clay to soapstone to recycled materials, learn about important fossil discoveries and so much more!

Smithsonian Folklife Festival China

What I love most about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is the opportunity to meet carriers of cultural traditions in a very personal way.  You will have the chance to ask questions and engage with participants to hear their unique insider stories and experiences.  It amazes me to think how Washington, D.C. has become the quintessential cultural center, home to so many diverse groups.  This Festival is a time to learn and appreciate our fellow Americans and their family sagas from generation to generation.

To get myself ready, I’ve been listening to the Smithsonian Music of China and Music of Kenya playlists.

There is no admission charge to the Festival.  I highly suggest dressing for hot and humid weather- summer will be in full effect!  Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so you are advised to use Metrorail.  Your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant is of course on hand to arrange transportation services to and from the Festival as well.  I look forward to seeing you there!

A 4th Of July History Lesson From Capella DC

Fourth of July Capella DC

Just imagine what Washingtonians of years past would have thought of our upcoming July 4th rooftop experience at Capella Washington, D.C.!  Georgetown is after all, one of the most historic of American towns and it is especially rich in 4th of July history.  Did you know for instance that on July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams officiated the groundbreaking ceremonies at the C&O Canal with the musical accompaniment of the US Marine band?  And back in 1850, Washingtonian William Gordon wrote this about his fourth of July experience at Parrott’s Woods in Georgetown, in his book, “Recollections of a Boyhood in Georgetown.”

Fourth of July Capella DC

“On arriving at the woods the day was celebrated. Patriotic songs were sung, the Star Spangled Banner never being omitted, and addresses made by young college graduates. Later in the day speeches were made by the elders. Townsmen of all classes participated, and barrels of lemonade and abundance of eatables of every kind were provided; everything was free and all were welcomed. After a somewhat strenuous day parents and children returned home tired out but patriotically happy.”

There is no better place to celebrate America’s independence than our nation’s capital.  The Fourth of July Parade is one of my favorites!

More interesting July 4th facts:

1801 – The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs.

1848 – In Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison and other VIPs in attendance.

1947 – In Washington, D.C., the July Fourth ceremony at the monument grounds is televised for the first time.

1964 – A recorded reading of the Declaration of Independence by slain President John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves. In Prescott, AZ., Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Source: James R. Heintze. Librarian, American University, Washington, D.C. 

4th of July Capella DC

All I can say is that we’re aligning the stars and stripes once again for a most patriotic 4th of July weekend.  Our exclusive rooftop bar & lounge is the perfect location to view fireworks and enjoy a variety of handcrafted cocktails.

Our overnight package includes:

  • Overnight stay in one of our luxurious accommodations of your choice with views of the C&O Canal and historic Georgetown
  • VIP access to our private rooftop bar, lounge and infinity pool
  • Viewing of the National Firework Celebration
  • Live musical entertainment
  • Capella’s Culinary Team will have delicious barbecue action stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for $49 per person and $29 for children. (All food and beverage orders are charged separately from the Fourth of July package)
  • Breakfast the next morning in The Grill Room.

To reserve this incredible experience at Capella Washington, D.C., please contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail res.dc@capellahotels.com.

To book today, please click here.

www.capelladcjuly4.com

Japanese Day & How To Wear A Yukata

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Do you remember my story about the Japanese-German history in Dusseldorf which I shared on the Capella Blog a couple of months ago?  Then you might remember that Dusseldorf is the city with the largest Japanese population in Europe.  Actually, one fourth of Germany’s Japanese population is living in Dusseldorf!

Every year we have celebrate Japanese Day, where visitors and locals alike can learn more about the Japanese culture.  The event will take place for the 13th time this year and will be celebrate on May 17th.   The event takes place throughout the city, even along the Rhine Promenade.  I love to wander along the promenade, tasting different Japanese food specialties, listening to music and watching dance performances, combat demonstrations and even Manga costume contests.  At night the event is topped off with a beautiful firework display that lights up the entire city.

This year, the Breidenbacher Hof is getting in on the activities, with a fantastic Japanese amenity.  This amenity includes a lot of special Japanese things, prepared by our resident Japanese expert Keiko.  The most important part of the amenity is a traditional sleeping kimono, known as the Yukata.  Keiko showed me the correct way to wrap it, something I asked her to show you as well:

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First of all, you have to slip into the Yukata, of course.  Grasp it along the hem with one side in each hand. Fold the right hand side under the left hand side, holding it in place as you fold the right hand side over the left.

Use the obi (belt) to secure everything in place. This is done by placing the belt over your waist (if you are a woman) or relatively low on your hip (if you are a man) and then crossing the obi on the back and tying it in the front over your right hip.

I know, it takes some time to become a pro, but I am sure Keiko will help you practice and get ready for Japanese Day.  Just ask her during your stay at the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel in Düsseldorf as soon as possible and don’t forget to tell our Personal Assistants about your plans to visit the Japanese Day festivities so that they can prepare everything for you!

Der Japan Tag in Düsseldorf

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Erinnert Ihr euch an meinen Beitrag über die Japanisch-Deutsche Vergangenheit in Düsseldorf, den ich vor einigen Monaten auf dem Capella Blog veröffentlicht habe?  Dann erinnert Ihr euch bestimmt auch daran, dass Düsseldorf die Stadt mit der größten japanischen Bevölkerung in ganz Europa ist.  Genau genommen lebt ein Viertel der japanischen Bevölkerung Deutschlands in Düsseldorf!

Jedes Jahr feiern wir den Japan Tag, an dem sowohl Besucher als auch Einwohner mehr über die japanische Kultur kennenlernen können.  Die Veranstaltung wird dieses Jahr am 17. Mai zum dreizehnten Mal stattfinden.  Der Japan Tag findet in ganz Düsseldorf statt, sogar entlang des Rheinufers.  Ich liebe es entlang der Promenade zu flanieren, verschiedene japanische Spezialitäten zu probieren, Musik zu hören und mir die zahlreichen Tanzgruppen, Kampfvorstellungen und sogar Manga Kostümwettbewerbe anzusehen.  Am späten Abend wird die Veranstaltung dann mit einem farbenfrohen Feuerwerk gekrönt, welches die gesamte Stadt erhellt.

Dieses Jahr beteiligt sich der Breidenbacher Hof mit einem fantastischen japanischen Amenity an der Veranstaltung.  Dieses Amenity beinhaltet eine Vielzahl typisch japanischer Dinge, die von unserer Japan-Expertin Keiko vorbereitet werden.  Der wichtigste Bestandteil des Amenitys ist ein traditioneller Schlaf-Kimono, der auch als Yukata bekannt ist.  Keiko hat mir gezeigt, wie man diesen richtig anlegt und ich hab sie gebeten, es Euch auch zu zeigen:

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Zuerst muss man natürlich in den Yukata hineinschlüpfen.  Erfasst ihn entlang des Kleidersaums mit je einer Seite in jeder Hand.  Dann faltet Ihr die rechte Seite unter die linke Seite des Yukata und haltet die rechte Seite dabei gut fest.

Benutzt den „obi“ (Gürtel), um das Ganze zu fixieren.  Dies tut Ihr, indem Ihr den Gürtel über eure Hüfte legt (bei Frauen) oder relativ tief  im unteren Teil eurer Hüfte (bei Männern), und den obi einmal um euren Körper wickelt und ihn anschließend vorne auf der rechten Seite eurer Hüfte zusammenbindet.

Ich weiß, man benötigt etwas Übung, um ein Profi darin zu werden, aber ich bin mir sicher, dass Keiko euch beim Üben helfen wird und euch so für den Japan Tag vorbereitet.  Fragt sie einfach so früh wie möglich während eures nächsten Aufenthalts im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel in Düsseldorf und vergesst nicht unsere Persönlichen Assistenten über eure Pläne, den Japan Tag zu besuchen, in Kenntnis zu setzten, sodass sie alles für Euch vorbereiten können!

Preparing for the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

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From a very tender age, I have always loved music.  Music has played a very important role in the island of Saint Lucia’s culture and Jazz music has found its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike.  The Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival attracts thousands from all over the world to the island.  Jazz has always been one of my favorite genres of music and I vowed that I would never miss the Festival since its inception in 1992.

About 22 years later, I still get very excited as I guess who this year’s performers will be.  For months leading up to the festival, the people on this island excitedly wait for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board to unveil the line-up for the year’s Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.  This year the event runs May 9th – 11th, 2014, and will feature some of my favorite artists including Kem, Barrington Levy, P-Square, Maxwell, The Commodores and the winner of NBC’s The Voice – Tessane Chin.

Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival

This year’s event promises to host many fun-filled festivities for all.  Everyone attending will witness performances by stilt walkers, masqueraders, Creole dancers and even fire breathers.  I just love how the people of Saint Lucia get together for this spectacular experience that leaves an everlasting memory in everyone’s mind.

If you are interested in attending any of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival events, please be sure to contact your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant either via email Res.marigotbay@capellahotels.com or by phone:  Direct 758 458 5300 ext. 3005 or Toll Free: 1 877 384 8037.

 

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is a month away, and I am already looking forward to the festivities!  What is your favorite Easter tradition?  As a child and even now, I have always loved the Easter Egg Hunt and of course, the Easter Bunny.

The Easter Bunny legend began long ago in Germany with an egg-laying hare named Osterhase.  German children made nests and left them outside for the hare to lay her eggs in, which the children would collect as a prize.  Actual Easter Egg Hunting began in America when German immigrants brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.  The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests.  Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins.

After discovering the history behind this Easter tradition, my team at Capella Washington, D.C. felt it was only appropriate to establish our very own Easter Egg Hunt.  And not your average children’s hunt, but one especially for the adults.  Picture a city wide hunt with golden eggs, sensational prizes, Washington, D.C.’s most well-known landmarks, and of course, the unique Capella experience.

I am so thrilled to announce the launch our first annual Capella DC  Easter Egg Hunt!

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt

The Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Details:

  • One golden egg will be placed in a unique location in Washington, D.C. every weekend, the three weeks leading to Easter Sunday on April 20th, 2014.  Your mission is to keep a look out for the photo clue on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram the morning of, which will give you a hint to where the Easter egg will be.
  • Next, locate the golden Easter egg and take a photo at the location of you and the prize.  Share your photo with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and be sure to use the hashtag #CapellaEasterEggHunt and tag us @CapellaDC.
  • When you open the Golden Egg, you will find a contact phone number.  Once you call this number, one of our Capella service professionals will reveal your winning prize!  We are offering a wide variety of prizes – from Sunday Brunch at The Grill Room, to a luxury overnight stay at Capella Washington, D.C.

Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt Schedule:

Saturday, April 5th
Sunday, April 7th
Saturday, April 12th
Sunday, April 13th
Thursday, April 17th
Friday, April 18th
Saturday, April 19th
Sunday, April 20th

For more information on the Capella DC Easter Egg Hunt, be sure to contact our Easter events squad at 202-617-2429!  Keep a look out for the first photo hint on Saturday, April 5th at 9:00am!